It's no secret that the worldwide game industry is a very lucrative business with 20 billion dollars in revenues, and making a successful and critically received game is the hope of veteran and budding game developers. Game development is a very risky undertaking; some game projects can take more than three years to complete. And the return on such investments can often be too little to justify the expense at the end of development. What's all the more ironic in a market with hundreds of different games is that very few games seem to stay on the best-selling lists for a long amount of time. Some games sell well in their first weeks of release but fall off the chart rapidly, while others have a tremendous, lasting appeal. And then you have megahit games such as The Sims and RollerCoaster Tycoon, which have remained in the top-seller list for more than a year, or games such as Ultima Online and EverQuest, which were both released more than two years ago but have held onto a large subscriber base over their life span. Games that dominate sales charts are quite the envy of game publishers--who wouldn't like to reap the benefits of such long-lasting successes?
It is, however, a different matter when it comes to figuring out the secret of such success. What is it about The Sims, for example, that has made it so popular and so successful? What makes it more mainstream or so widely appealing than other games in the genre? This week, the editors are taking a look at popular and mainstream games and asking, "What makes games mainstream?" It's an interesting issue for computer gamers and game developers alike. If you agree with one of our answers, please vote in our instant poll. If you'd like to tell us what you think makes a game mainstream, please
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QOTW: What Makes Games Mainstream?
Games that dominate sales charts for months or even a year aren't very common, but they're the kind of games that many developers want to make. In this edition of Question of the Week, we take a look at successful concepts and ideas that make games mainstream.